New writing on AI, ethics, and the lure of digital immortality

An 01887 print by Horace Fisher in Harper’s Bazaar depicting the graveyard scene from Hamlet. Source: Norman B. Leventhal Map & Education Center at the Boston Library

“What might be the consequences of enabling people to ‘live forever’ in a digital form?”

Art, technology, ethics, and the lure of digital immortality… For those curious, an article on digital avatars that I was commissioned to write for The Long Now Foundation is now live. It’s about how newly sophisticated language models and machine-learning algorithms might enable people to ‘live’ (to an extent) from beyond the grave.

The article asks questions including:

– To what extent ought people digitally enabled to ‘live forever’ be integrated into society?
– How might digital avatars both benefit and burden future generations?
– And is digital life above all a form of distraction?

Many thanks to Ahmed Kabil for commissioning and editing this piece! It was thought-provoking to research, consider, and write about this topic – I’m really happy to have had the chance to do so. Branching out into the world of science and technology journalism is something I’ve been enjoying a lot this year.

You can read the full article here.